Week 8 All-NBA Playoff Team
The NBA postseason is almost over, as the San Antonio Spurs have the Miami Heat on the ropes with a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals and the series heading back to the River Walk.
At Bleacher Report, we’re picking an All-NBA team each week of the postseason. Players are chosen based on the whole week’s performance, though more emphasis was put on winning, which is why these might “seem” a little “biased.”
Both traditional box-score stats and advanced stats were also taken into account.
Please note that only this week’s games—June 7 through June 13—were considered. The games that preceded the specified dates are not factored in, although they may be alluded to.
Here are the stats for the dates included courtesy of NBA.com. And here are the players who stood out the most.
Point Guard: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
This is not even a contest. It’s either Tony Parker for the Spurs or Mario Chalmers for the Heat.
Parker is in the running for Finals MVP, and Chalmers is in the running for series goat. Both starting points are averaging 4.3 assists, but Parker is averaging 18.3 points on .500 shooting. Chalmers is averaging 3.7 points on .267 shooting.
The Spurs are plus-9.0 per game with Parker in. The Heat are minus-3.7 with Chalmers in.
To sum up, Parker is just flat outplaying Chalmers by a mile, and the Spurs are better than the Heat. I couldn’t even contrive a way to give this to Chalmers if I wanted to.
Shooting Guard: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
Manu Ginobili keeps making up for last year’s Finals disappointment. He’s been the perfect example of why the Spurs are unleashing a storm of posterior kicking during the series.
He only averaged 12.3 points, 2.3 assists and 2.0 rebounds a game this week, but he also had the best plus/minus of any player in the series, with plus-13.3.
The Spurs offense has been a thing of beauty. The ball is popping like Gregg Popovich is popping popcorn in a popcorn popper. The touch passes and ball movement have the Heat with their heads on a swivel. Passing seems even more popular when Ginobili is on the court.
When he is in the game, the Spurs offense is at its best this week, averaging 124.8 points per 100 possessions.
His contributions don’t show up in the box score as much, but they sure show up on the scoreboard.
Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
You might ask-a-why Kawhi Leonard? I’ll answer, “Kawhi not?” In the last two games, Leonard has landed the great kapow and a made us say kawow!
Yes, statistically, LeBron James has had the better week. But the Heat did not, apart from Game 2. In that game James was spectacular, scoring 35 points and grabbing 10 boards.
However, in the two Spurs wins, Leonard almost matched James’ scoring, averaging 24.5 to James’ 25.0 per game. He shot better, hitting on 68.0 percent of his attempts, while James hit “just” 61.3 percent. Leonard also out-rebounded James, 9.0 to 6.5.
Leonard had the highest player impact estimate (PIE) among rotation players during the Miami games, with 22.8 percent. James was second with 18.6 percent.
Apart from all that, there's the impression that Leonard has actually had more highlight plays, be they thunder dunks or ballistic blocks.
So, this week Leonard had two great games and James had one. That’s enough to give Leonard the nod over the best player in the world.
Power Forward: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
This comes down to a choice between Tim Duncan and Rashard Lewis. I don’t need to say anymore to defend the selection, but I will because I can’t have a one-sentence slide.
In actuality, this was closer than you might think. Duncan averaged 14.7 points and 10.7 boards this week, shooting .488. Lewis averaged 10.0 points and 2.0 rebounds while shooting .550. In fact, among Miami’s starters other than James, Lewis might be the least horrible player for the Heat.
But he still got dominated by Duncan. So kudos for a bit of a resurgence to your career Mr. Lewis, but the nod still has to go to the Big Fundamental.
Center: Boris Diaw, San Antonio Spurs
At this point I’m going to be called biased. But what am I supposed to do? Lie?
The Spurs outscored the Heat by 40 points in the two games in Miami. That’s the best performance by a road team in Finals history by a significant margin. The next best is 31 points by the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks over the Baltimore Bullets.
The Spurs have outscored the Heat by a total of 53 points. That’s tied for the largest margin of victory in history through four games.
Point being (well, there are lots of points—I think San Antonio just scored again), the Spurs are proving that a dominant team trumps a dominant player. Boris Diaw is just another cog in a big, magnificent, beautiful machine, and his role can’t be overlooked.
He averaged 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists this week. He’s been an all-purpose player who is the proverbial oil in the machine. He’s the essence of all that is good and right with the Spurs system—a reclamation project turned good.